An Exhibit and Series of Events sponsored by SPAIN arts & culture
For the cover of a book by Freud, two walnuts skewered on an awl. For the cover of Andre Gide’s Fruits of the Earth, a portrait of Gide formed by grains of wheat. For Saki’s short stories, quail feathers escaping a set of silver spoons.
The award-winning graphic designer Manuel Estrada has built his career on combining disparate elements into one elegant, often breathtaking image. Many of them use food ingredients or implements to express metaphors. They are on display now and until October 29, in a series of posters and vitrines, as Estrada Design Kitchen at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain.
Sr. Estrada talked about his creative process during the press breakfast and evening opening reception for the exhibit. Designers work by commission, he maintained, unlike artists who work by inspiration. This did not prevent him from producing such striking images as “Carmencita,” the updated logo image of a spice company. He replaced her hair curl with a red pepper.
And after the talk, there was food to sample. Spanish restaurants provided bites of their specialties, and Spanish wine and beer flowed. I’ve never had Spanish beer before, and was delighted to discover that it was to my taste, not overly hoppy – but the food was the main attraction. To begin, there was a table of Spanish cheeses and sardines.
Jaleo had the best bites, IMHO, with little cones filled with trout roe and salmon tartare (or, for you non-pescetarians, La Serena cheese and quince paste). Second place was a tie between Boqueria’s salpicon (marinated seafood) and the octopus and potato sticks (Galician style) at Taberna del Alabardero.
On the other hand, there was the Jamón Iberico being carved by Alex Velez. I asked if he worked for a restaurant? “I’m a freelancer,” he replied. There’s a profession for you – free-lance ham carver. Have knife, will travel.
There is another exhibit, also part of Eat Spain Up!, presenting large-format photographs of gastronomic icons (Spain’s Eleven), which is nice but overshadowed by the Estrada Design Kitchen. Also, and these I am really looking forward to, events spotlighting aspects of Spanish food culture at the Former Residence, and pop-up tastings at Union Market. Details are available at the link above. Stay tuned for further reports!